Instagram is an important social media platform to be on for your blog and your business. You have probably read all about the ways to boost your engagement organically, how to create killer content and why brands love to work with influencers. But in this article I share a few settings in Instagram that you may not know about but will help you manage your business, keep your hard-earned follower count safe, help you cross promote to other platforms, and get more sales to your business.
1) Two Factor Authentication
If you haven’t turned on your two factor authentication, do it now. Stop reading this article, pick up your phone, follow the steps below and make your Instagram account less easy to hack! But seriously, perhaps it’s because I married a man who used to work in cyber security, but I am shocked at how many people do not have two factor authentication switched on. Recently I have seen lots of people on Instagram say their account was hacked and then write a helpful post about how you can avoid this happening – the number one thing they write is turn on two factor. Well, I suggest you do this BEFORE you get hacked. It takes 2 minutes and will guard your hard-earned followers from someone trying to take over your account.
- Go to Settings
- Select Privacy and Security
- Select Two Factor Authentication
- Toggle this to on either for a text message to your phone or using an Authentication App
- Then click on Recovery Codes and screen shot these as a back up
2) Your Activity
Are you concerned about how much time you are spending on Instagram? Do you get to the end of the day and wonder what you actually did? Do you find yourself picking up your phone every two seconds and scrolling through Instagram? If you answered yes to any of these then use the Your Activity feature in Instagram. Here you can set a daily time limit for Instagram and when you reach this limit you will receive a pop up in app telling you. This is a great reminder to then stop what you are doing, and leave Instagram to work on something else!
I have my Instagram set to 30 minutes per day. When I was first building my following I spent up to 5 hours per day on the app to boost engagement and grow an organic audience. However, with all the facets of my business it is simply not possible to spend that amount of time anymore. I try to keep this to the 30 minutes, but as you can see from the screenshot I actually spend close to 2 hours on average per day on the app (this does not include time on scheduling apps, creating Instagram story graphics, editing photos or planning the feed though – so the hours spent on Instagram is in fact even higher than this).
The nice thing about the Your Activity setting is that it does not block you from using the app, but is a healthy reminder to try to reduce your time on it.
Another tip for productivity and reducing time on your phone is to set Screen Time limits on your phone as well.
In The Blogger Course I work through the reasons that you want a following on Instagram and what your goals are so that you can set yourself a realistic time limit on this app. For some people you may actually want to increase your time on the app rather than decrease it, if you see this as a good source of customer referral so the Your Activity setting on Instagram can actually help you to increase time engaging.
3) Quick Replies
Quick Replies on Instagram are one of my favourite features! If you are a business and receive a lot of questions to your Instagram inbox Quick Replies are a great feature to speed up your response time and avoid having to write out the same response over and over.
You will find the Quick Replies in Settings – Business – Quick Replies. From here you select New Quick Reply and name the Quick Reply with a Shortcut (that you can use to quickly bring up that reply) and the Message that will be pre-filled. I suggest creating a set of Quick Replies in Instagram that answer your most frequently asked questions. You can always tailor the reply a little if needed, but your quick replies should be able to answer 90% of the business related enquiries you receive – freeing up your time to work on other aspects of your Instagram strategy.
4) Request Verification
The coveted blue badge used to be very difficult to obtain. Nobody really knew how to get it and if you asked anyone they told you it magically appeared for them, or they knew someone who worked at Instagram who helped them to get it. Now, the blue badge is not a signal of celebrity, but rather proof that you are a real business or real person. You can request verification directly from Instagram in the settings of your Instagram account.
Go to Settings – Account – Request Verification and then complete your User Name, Full Name, Known As and upload your photo ID, drivers license, passport or national identification card. Getting the blue badge with this method is not guaranteed, and personally despite having submitted the information it has not magically appeared for me – but at least the mysterious black box that is Instagram is becoming slightly easier to navigate and understand as they offer features like this right in the settings of your account. So try that method and let me know if and when you get your verification!
Linking your other social media accounts is a simple way to cross promote your Instagram to other social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Go to Settings – Account – Linked Accounts to link your other social channels so that you can post your Instagram picture to those feeds too. To actually post the Instagram picture to the other feed, you will toggle the button when you reach the New Post page in Instagram where you enter you caption, tags and location.
6) Mute Accounts
I am sure you all have someone you follow who you don’t want to necessarily unfollow, but you also don’t really want to see every one of their life updates as you scroll though your feed. Rather than unfollow them you can simply mute this person. To mute someone you simply click the three … in the top right of one of their pictures and the option to Copy Link / Turn On Post Notifications / Report / Mute appears. You have the option in Instagram to mute the feed posts or both feed posts and stories and you can unmute them whenever you want. Plus the user you are muting is not notified. To find your muted accounts, go to Settings / Account / Muted Accounts – and you can easily unmute if you change your mind or miss seeing them in your feed. This is nicer than following and unfollowing regularly.
Action Buttons on Instagram can be found under Edit Profile – Contact Options and then Action Buttons. The Action Buttons connect your Instagram profile with other online services that you offer via a third-party app, such as Eventbrite or OpenTable. This is a great way to make it easy for followers on Instagram to be converted to customers, and for your customers to interact with your business. You can select different ways for the customer to interact and book with you using these Action Buttons.
8) Name Tag
Instagram rolled out a new way to quickly follow people you’ve met in real life last year. Called Name Tag, the feature works by showing your username on your phone in a format that allows it to be scanned by your friend / acquaintance who wants to follow you. You can find this in the Settings area – Name Tag and you can customise with additional designs, colors, and stickers if you are so inclined!
9) Post To Other Accounts
Do you have more that one Instagram account? Perhaps you have a personal account and one for your business, but many of the pictures you share are the same. If so, the Cross Posting option on Instagram is a great way to optimise your time and avoid having to post to both accounts separately. Now when you reach the New Post page in Instagram where you enter you caption, tags and location you can also select Post To Other Accounts and post your photo to multiple other accounts that you manage.
10) Close Friends List
Have content you want to share with friends, but not the world? Then the Close Friends List on Instagram is for you. The Close Friends List allows you to create a list of a few people you would like to share specific stories with. The people in your close friends list will be able to see your stories but they won’t be able to see who else is in the close friends list.
You will find this under Settings, and here you can just type in your friends Instagram handles to add them to your Close Friends List. Once you have created your list you will then get an option to share you story either to your main Story feed, or to Close Friends by clicking on the green circle with a white star in it. You can add and remove people from the list at any time.
Want More Instagram Tips?
Join my Blogger Course where I share more details on how I grew my combined following on Instagram on my personal and business accounts to over half a million followers, organically! The Blogger Course dives into everything you need to know to create a successful blog and business and includes detailed modules on social media channels and how to use them to bring traffic to you blog.
I hope that this article has helped you to find a few useful Instagram features that you may not have know existed! Please share any other tips for Instagram in the comments below.
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